Websites that work. The Basics of Usability Testing

How to Improve Your Website – Give Your Readers What They Want

You want your new website to generate more leads for your small-to-medium sized business because you need more sales in order to grow so you need to be sure that:

1. People will be attracted to your website
2. Your content appeals to them
3. The content style effectively sells your service or product.

You can’t afford for your investment in a new or improved website to go to waste. And the only way to avoid costly mistakes is to test your website.

Testing website quality on a shoestring budget

A user test will confirm the quality of user experience. It need not be complicated and is worth doing even if you are short on time and have very little budget.

What is usability testing?

Usability testing involves watching people try to use what you’re developing with the intention of finding out how you can:

  • Make it easier for people to use, or
  • Prove that it is easy to use.

Why conduct a usability test?

To gain insights that enable you to improve what you’re developing.

By carrying out some simple tests, you will uncover any problems people have as they try to use your site. By fixing those usability problems you make sure people take the desired action and move closer to a sale.

Is it easy?

You don’t need specialist skills and it needn’t be expensive. Usability testing will help you get the best results from your website.

Who to test with

Choose three participants that represent your target audience. The first three will encounter the biggest problems related to the tasks you’re testing.

How to conduct a usability test

A facilitator sits in a room with a participant, gives her some tasks to do and asks her to think out loud while she tries to complete them.

What to test

Choose the tasks – or calls to action – you want to test.

Make a list of the tasks that people need to do on each page of your website.

Some examples of tasks are:

  • Book a place at your workshop
  • Get more information about the speaker
  • See what other customers are saying
  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Request the free trial of a product from a new range
  • Buy your book
  • Register for your blog and make comments
  • Download a white paper
  • Ask for a quotation
  • Hire you as their consultant
  • Call to book a coaching session
  • Arrange an initial chat

Start the Test at the Home Page

Firstly, ask the participant to have a look around the home page. Ask the tester to scroll around (not click) and say out loud what she thinks the site is about. From this initial review, you will know whether the basic context of the site is clear to your intended visitors.

Next, ask the participant to try doing some specific tasks so that you can assess how well the site works.

When there is more than one decision-maker

When you do a usability test, you are following proven research to give your website visitors a more rewarding experience. The more rewarded they feel, the more likely it is that you will convert them into paying customers. Your website then becomes results-focused and keeps you ahead of your competitors.

Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to websites.

It’s easy to base your decisions on opinion. But don’t let personal opinion be the reason to change your website. Test and it and make your decisions based on fact.

More conversions and sales

The great benefit of communicating online using your website is that you can quickly and easily test your content and make adjustments that lead to more conversions and sales.

How to measure the success of your site

Google Analytics is free software that can show you the results of changes you make almost immediately. Try one change at a time and see which gets the best result.

Test the changes you make to your website and be confident that you’ll never miss a lead again.

Further Reading

If you’d like to have a chat about usability or to share your experiences please get in touch.

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